This week, I got a brand new iPhone. I realise that this isn't really a groundbreaking event, and we all get new iPhones every two years (those of us who suckle at Apple's human rights violating-y teat, anyway), but getting and setting up this new phone got me to thinking about some things that it really only seems right to share here (because literally no one else would care).
I was pretty excited about my new phone because, in spite of what I just said, I had waited three years for this instead of two, due to a lack of funds and general ok-ness with my old phone the last time I was due an upgrade. Last week, events conspired and I found myself live-chatting with an O2 worker on a Friday night (wild!) getting a good upgrade deal and ordering my brand new phone.* I got the phone on Monday, and after trying and failing to restore my phone from iCloud three times, I got to thinking.
Why restore? Here I was, with this brand new phone, excited by the sheer feel of it, and here I was about to make it literally exactly the same as the phone I already had, just longer and sleeker and with awesome fingerprint technology. I wondered how many people just unthinkingly do this, without taking the opportunity to start afresh, leave behind the apps that weren't useful to their lives anymore, and start using their phones in a new, more mindful way.
So that's what I decided to do. It wasn't exactly a noble decision, considering the trouble I was having restoring anyway, but I'm pretty sure with a little perseverance, I could have made the backup work. Instead, I started with a blank slate (blank apart from the 5,000 compulsory apps Apple now have, of course) and thought about what I really needed at my fingertips, and what was pretty unnecessary to my life. I got to have the best of both worlds, since iCloud is pretty magic, so I got to import my photos and my contacts without laboriously adding them manually (although I would fully promote that, if only to weed out all the terrible boys in one's phone *shifty eyes*), and then it was up to me.
My strategy was this- to download the apps that I use to stay in touch with people (Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, social media-y things), the ones that improve my life admin (mobile banking, Bloglovin, Nike Running) and the ones that actually cost me real money (looking at you, Busuu and Yoga Studio). I left off things like pinterest, which I barely looked at but which sent me THE MOST notifications, and specific shopping apps, except for amazon because I use it pretty often because I just can't help myself. I figured that, if I need to buy something and it's easier to do it through an app, then I can just download and remove the app at basically the same time, and I've done that once already, with the etsy app.
It has honestly already made a huge different to how cluttered my brain feels when I look at my phone, and actively thinking about what I use my phone for and how much I use it. If you're doubting how much of a difference any of this can really make, then I point to the fact that I have left behind the online dating app from my old phone, a change which probably won't last but which has forced me to think about what I've been using it for, as well as how much I've been using it. It's a break from the exhausting process of small-talking with 20 losers before finding the one guy who's actually worth talking to (before, of course, he turns out to be a loser too).
Frankly, for now, I'm enjoying the quiet.
The internet is all about minimising and mindfulness at the moment, and choosing not to make my new phone a carbon copy of my old one has allowed me to practice both. I feel like I look at my phone less and get fewer notifications (which is honestly a good thing for me) and it's so much easier to find the things I really need, because at the moment, I don't have any that I don't. I'm fully aware that through the lifespan of a phone, I'm going to eventually add apps that I don't really need, and that things are likely to get cluttered again, but I'm glad I took the opportunity to fully start afresh, and hope that it's taught me to reduce and minimise, and just hold on to what is truly necessary. In all areas of life, not just in my phone.
*Just as an aside, you know when people say that you have to go direct to the service provider to get the best deal? THAT IS LITERALLY TRUE. Never ever accept the price that's on the website or whatever, trust me.